I challenged myself to come up with a column this week that would be non-political. "Just one week," I thought, "how hard can it be?"
Then, out of nowhere, the Panama Papers drop, and everybody momentarily acted surprised that world leaders were abiding by different rules to the rest of us regarding tax. Then, like so many scandals, we remembered that everything that's being published by the media were things we suspected anyway, and just continue with our lives.
Or, so the leaders hoped. However, this seems like something that is going to rumble on for a long time. Reminiscent of the 2009 expenses scandal, but on a global scale, the media are drip-feeding information to us day by day as they trawl through the unprecedentedly large leak - 2.6TB of data in fact.
Handed over the the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who then gave it to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the files implicate 12 national leaders in offshore tax havens, including a $2bn trail leading right up to Vladimir Putin.
Already, the effects of these leaks are being seen. Iceland's
Prime Minister former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has had to step down when it transpired he and his wife had purchased an off-shore company to invest her share of profits received from the sale of Iceland's only Toyota importer - previously owned by her father.
More amusingly, Gianni Infantino has been caught up in the drama, and UEFA offices have been raided by Swiss police. For those of you who didn't know, Infantino is the new head of FIFA, replacing the old head, Sepp Blatter, who had to resign due to corruption and financial misconduct. Even better - the judge that banned him is now also being investigated thanks to the papers. If you thought FIFA was fixed, think again!
Closer to home, Cameron has been particularly ham-fisted in the handling of the leaks, especially over the naming of his own father as a beneficiary of a tax haven. It transpires that Cameron had over £30,000 of shares in his late father's offshore company. In an interview with ITV, he stated that these were sold in 2010 before he became PM, so as to not be accused of vested interests. Off topic, Cameron became Leader of the Conservative Party in 2005...
Variations of #resignCameron is currently all over Twitter, although my two favourite tweets at this time come from @peterkwilson and @jimmycarr, who was previously slammed by David Cameron for avoiding tax.
"That money was just resting in my account." #resigncameron pic.twitter.com/Xp9hcF52R3
— Pete Wilson (@peterkwilson) April 8, 2016
I'm going to keep it classy. It would be 'morally wrong' and 'hypocrytical' to comment on another individual's tax affairs.
— Jimmy Carr (@jimmycarr) April 8, 2016
It's no secret that I am not a fan of the Conservative Party, and while I would love to jump on the calls for his resignation, I don't feel like I can. The reasons are two-fold. First, who would replace him? It's not like the Cabinet is full of charismatic, empathetic or even likeable people? Osborne, May, Hunt? Appetising…
Secondly, and this is perhaps more controversial, I actually want him to stay in so he can continue to promote staying in the EU. There, I said it. I want to stay in the EU, I think it is the best for the country. And despite his numerous faults, Cameron is promoting one positive policy which is that. That said, his name seems to be politically toxic at the moment so we will have to see what happens.
One thing is for certain, and that is that the Panama Paper controversy is not going anywhere anytime soon. As such, it seems unlikely I will get to test my non-political column writing anytime soon.
Well, where to start. Seriously, where do I start? If you skimmed over my column above, the TL;DR is that 2.6TB of data was leaked, revealing that the rich, the elites, and some of the world leaders have been avoiding tax through offshore companies. Naturally, the public aren't impressed, although according to the Independent, only 8% of the British public are surprised that David Cameron is among them. Also alleged to have benefitted was Vladimir Putin, who apparently has $2bn stashed away for when he isn't performing Judo, chilling with a bit of fishing, or allegedly killing off political opposition. There really is too much to summarise here, so included below are multiple news websites, which you hopefully feel is a good spread from across the political spectrum. If you have a spare couple of hours this weekend, grab a coffee and a bagel, and go through the news, the amount of money that has been hidden away is staggering!
Batfleck brings Simon & Garfunkel back in the charts
If you have even the remotest interest in comic book films, you probably know that Batman v Superman came out recently, and has had pretty bad reviews. Even I struggled to find positives, and I have a batman tattoo on my arm! Well, recently the stars of the film were questioned on the poor reviews, and one savvy internet user quickly edited the clip of an particularly sad Ben Affleck to have Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence over the top. It fits perfectly, and apparently has had a 582% uptick in streaming on YouTube. Not all bad then, guys!
Indie games sweep BAFTA Games Awards
This year, the BAFTA Games Awards took place on the 7th of April. During the award night, independent games mostly won by obtaining very good results. They also scored better than other mainstream games with big budgets. Among the winners, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (Audio Achievement, Music and Performer awards), Rocket League (Family, Multiplayer and Sport awards) and Her Story (Debut Game, Game Innovation and Mobile & Handheld awards) belong to the independent game scene. Other famous games such as Fallout 4 and Batman: Arkham Knight won respectively as Best Game and British Game.
The 40th Olivier Awards
Big news from this year's Olivier Awards which took place this week. On the evening of the 40th Olivier Awards, Judi Dench won her eighth award making her the most awarded actor in the history of the Oliviers. She won the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Winter's Tale. Elsewhere, adapted from the British film, Kinky Boots with music by Cyndi Lauper, took home Best Musical as one of its three awards. Gypsy led the list with four wins including Best Musical Revival and Best Actress in a Musical for Imelda Staunton.
Powerpuff Girls is rebooted on Cartoon Network; #PowerpuffYourself goes global
In the same way as the Snapchat dog filter, the 'twennywan' Vine, and Bit Strips comics, #PowerpuffYourself has become the latest viral fad. With it, you can transform yourself into a Powerpuff person. The tool was released as part of the publicity around the re-boot of the popular cartoon from the turn of the millennium, Powerpuff Girls, on Cartoon Network/TOON. Running from 1998-2005, it was known for 'sugar, spice, and everything nice' and villainous character, Mojo Jojo which later spawned web memes. The original won Emmys and Annies so the new one has big shoes to fill.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer released
The trailer for the first Star Wars spin-off film is here. Rogue One takes place before the original film, Episode IV: A New Hope back in 1977. The trailer shows us the plot of a group of rebels on a mission to steal plans for the first Death Star. The film boasts a cast including Felicity Jones in her Hollywood debut following The Theory of Everything as well as Forrest Whittaker, Mads Mikkelson, and Arts Award Champion, Riz Ahmed. Gareth Edwards sits in the director's chair after doing Godzilla in 2014. Rogue One signifies the first in a series of planned spin-offs including origin stories about both Han Solo and Boba Fett. Rumours stipulate that Taron Egerton of Kingsman fame will take the helm on the Han Solo project.
David Brent: Life on the Road trailer released
Ricky Gervais' character post-The Office leads the mockumentary about his life as a rockstar. In the trailer, Brent comes back to look back at his former life as a paper company branch office manager in Slough to see it now as a pharmaceutical company office. Over a decade after the original series finished, none of the other cast members have appeared as staff at the office but there's a whole film left to put the speculation to rest. It'd miss a pretty massive trick if there were no other The Office alumni or a crossover with The Office US. We see Jo Hartley of This Is England fame, Mandeep Dhillon from Some Girls, and comedian Doc Brown feature in the trailer, too.
Calls for the British Museum to drop BP as a sponsor
Over 100 prominent figures have called for the British Museum to drop BP as a sponsor. Mark Ruffalo is among the influential list of people who signed a letter calling for the museum to sever its ties, ending a 4 year deal valued at £10m. Activists have said the museum runs the risk of looking out of touch if they continue the partnership, and instead should be considering how to minimise their environmental impact. Emma Thompson said that BP is sponsoring our past while destroying our future, referring to the company's lobbying against green energy. The counter-argument proposed is that this way, the profits generated by BP are going towards improving cultural preservation.
Photo by Paul Hudson
Jeremy Corbyn to appear at Glastonbury in a line-up by Billy Bragg
Calm down, the Leader of the Opposition is not about to drop a beat. Although that might just be what he needs to secure the next Government. In the starkest of contrasts to the news about his opponent, Corbyn will be donning his glad rags in the setting where he's probably best suited - on a farm - to speak about politics on the 'Left Field' stage which 'mixes music and politics'. Corbyn will be given the stage to discuss what he brings to the table as part of a line-up organised by Billy Bragg, a musician whose music is influenced heavily by his left-wing views.
Source: BBC News
The Simpsons' Smithers comes out
The latest episode of The Simpsons aired in the US this week and it revealed what is considered the worst kept secret in television history, that Mr. Burns's spineless right-hand man, Waylon Smithers, is gay and in love with his boss. Without giving away too much about how the admission is made, the writers decided not to make a big deal of it and let it come out organically. The move comes as a brainchild of The Simpsons' senior writer, Rob LaZebnik, who wrote it as homage to his 21-year old son who had come out himself leading LaZebnik to announce the storyline late last year.
Source: The Telegraph
Sherlock to be directed by a female for the first time
American writer, director, and producer, Rachel Talalay, will be the first female director on the global phenomenon that is BBC One's Sherlock. Her previous directing credits include Doctor Who so she's no stranger to our idiosyncratic British drama. She will direct three feature length episodes, which will make up the fourth series of the programme. The last time we saw Sherlock on our screens was on New Year's Eve with the Victorian special Sherlock: The Abominable Bride which was the programme with the highest ratings over the festive season pulling in almost 12 million viewers. The fourth season will see Dr. Watson and Mary in the throes of imminent parenthood.
Ex Top Gear trio are still deciding on show's name
Perhaps in response to the recently released new BBC Top Gear trailer, the hosts of Amazon's new £160m car show have this week released a new clip. It involved no driving, no explosions, and nothing horribly offensive. It is the Hammond, Clarkson and May, all sitting around discussing the fact that they STILL have no name for the show, despite an expected autumn launch.
Clarkson left the BBC after punching a producer in the face over a fracas involving hot food. Chris Evans was selected to replace him as host of the popular car show, which airs next month.
Source: Evening Standard
Bhavesh Jadva and Elena Losavio contributed to this report
Header image: HeySoutre (Twitter)